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Honored, Humbled and Excited

May 16, 2019


A message from University of California Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom, who was appointed today as interim chancellor of the University of California, Merced.


Dear Campus Community,

It is impossible to convey how honored, humbled and excited I am about being named today as interim chancellor of UC Merced.

I am honored that the Board of Regents and President Napolitano have confidence that my skills, experiences and personal values are the right fit for Merced until a permanent new chancellor can be named. I see this as an opportunity to deploy my public finance, administrative and political experiences to help chart a more stable and predictable financial path for the campus, while also helping to see the Merced 2020 Project to a successful on-time and on-budget completion. I look forward to working closely with faculty, students, staff and all senior leadership, and especially the Academic Senate and Provost Camfield, as we maintain the campus’s upward academic and research trajectory.

At the same time, I am also humbled to be taking the reins from Chancellor Leland, who leaves giant shoes to fill. Chancellor Leland has been my dear friend and partner since, as a new chancellor, she sought my help when she recognized that radical new approaches would be needed to grow UC Merced to 10,000 students. As co-sponsors of Merced 2020, we worked together to convince the doubters, found innovative solutions to legal and financial challenges, and ultimately gained unanimous support from the president and the Regents to adopt an entirely new model for delivering space to the UC Merced campus. I will be a humble steward of Chancellor Leland’s considerable legacy, which will be measured not just in the square footage of new buildings but in the academic and research advances that now place UC Merced as a peer — not just the younger sibling — of UC’s other extraordinary campuses.

Finally, I am excited because it’s UC Merced, an institution that captured my heart and imagination on my very first visit to campus more than a decade ago, when I was still a vice chancellor at UC Berkeley. UC Merced was struggling in those days; there were even those who wondered if it could survive. But I saw in Merced’s faculty, students and staff the potential not just to survive but to thrive. And thriving it is — in its physical growth, its extraordinary faculty hiring, its innovative business approaches, and its growing reputation as a nationally-ranked research institution. But what most draws me to UC Merced is its student body — a truly unique group of young people who, more than those at any other campus, reflect the future demographics of California. The land grant mission on which the University of California was first founded is a living and breathing reality as reflected by the faces of Merced’s student body.

After my arrival on campus in August, I will be reaching out to meet as many of you as I can and to introduce you to my wife Caitlin and at least some of our six children, who will be visiting often. When not on the road meeting with prospective donors and fighting on behalf of UC Merced at Regents meetings and at the Office of the President, I intend to be a visible presence on campus. I will be living alongside students in the residence halls, eating in the new Pavilion, and working out in the recreation and wellness center. Don’t hesitate to approach me with your ideas, concerns and questions.

I will see you all in August. Until then, have a great summer.


Nathan Brostrom